Zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion — this is General Motors’ vision. These potential benefits of self-driving technology can only be fully realized when self-driving cars are deployed in large numbers, and when riders feel comfortable and secure.
Electric cars hit a new global sales record in 2017 — 1 million cars sold, with more than half of that in China — but there may be a hitch to mass adoption: the number of adequate charging stations available. Before consumers take the plunge on a new electric car, they need to know that they can charge it.
The number of electric charging stations in the US is small but growing. As of September 2018, there are an estimated 22,000 public charging stations in the US and Canada that are classified as level 2 and DC fast charging. (Typically, fast-charging stations supply 60 to 80 miles of range for every 20 minutes of charging.) By comparison, there are seven times more gas stations: about 168,000, according to FuelEconomy.gov.
Jaguar, Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benzare all launching high-profile electric cars in 2019, and practically every major automaker is staking its future on lineups of fully electric vehicles. The rapid decrease in the price of batteries — more than 70 percent between 2008 and 2014 — and the introduction of more mass-market EVs is certainly encouraging some consumers to consider switching to electric. If these cars are going to be successful, though, drivers have to know they can recharge them.
Waymo, Google’s self-driving car project, is planning to launch a driverless taxi service in the Phoenix area in the next three months. It won’t be a pilot project or a publicity stunt, either. Waymo is planning to launch a public, commercial service—without anyone in the driver’s seat.
And to date, Waymo’s technology has gotten remarkably little oversight from government officials in either Phoenix or Washington, DC.
If a company wants to sell a new airplane or medical device, it must undergo an extensive process to prove to federal regulators that it’s safe. Currently, there’s no comparable requirement for self-driving cars. Federal and state laws allow Waymo to introduce fully self-driving cars onto public streets in Arizona without any formal approval process.
Nissan and EVgo have completed their plan to connect the cities of Boston and Washington, D.C., with a series of nine electric vehicle (EV) fast-charging stations with 52 fast chargers in total.
The “I-95 Fast Charging ARC” is designed to give EV owners peace of mind and convenience when traveling the 500 miles between the two cities, according to EVgo.
Each station can charge up to four or more EVs simultaneously at a power output of 50 kW. The stations have also been designed and constructed to adapt to future advances in EV technology, including pre-wiring for higher charging outputs to allow easy upgrading to 150 kW fast chargers.
RICHMOND — Virginia has picked a Los Angeles firm to build and operate a network of electric-vehicle charging stations across the commonwealth, with the state planning to use $14 million from a legal settlement with Volkswagen to cover its share of the public-private partnership.
EVgo will share the cost of building hundreds of charging stations and be allowed to keep all the revenue generated by them under the deal, which Gov. Ralph Northam announced at a news conference Thursday.